By Tom Ballato
Every kid grows up with aspirations to play in the NBA. For Sir’Dominic Pointer, that dream came with a 10-day contract, and then the NBA suspension hit due to Covid-19 without him appearing in an NBA game. It’s a moment that he’ll never forget, but his story doesn’t end there. Pointer still believes and wants to prove he belongs.
Pointer chose St. John’s over West Virginia and Michigan. He was part of coach Steve Lavin’s first recruiting class that featured Maurice Harkless, D’Angelo Harrison, JaKarr Sampson, Phil Greene, and Nurideen Lindsey.
“I was comfortable. I just felt at home. I didn’t want to be close to home, I wanted to go away, but I wanted something that felt like home. That was the deciding factor,” Pointer said about attending St. John’s.
As a freshman, Pointer and his teammates were thrown into the fire and had to learn right away. They figured it out towards the end of their freshman year, and it carried on during their four years at St. John’s. St. John’s made the NIT his sophomore and junior season and the NCAA Tournament his senior year.
Pointer grew on the court at St. John’s. He showed off his ability to run the floor, rebound, and defend at a high level. As a junior, he had a down year on the court, and he contributed it to lost confidence. Pointer mentioned that he told coaches he would redshirt his junior season and eventually attend graduate school. Injuries on the team forced him to play and come off the bench as a junior.
His senior year, something clicked. Pointer became a full-time starter, and the confidence was there. He wanted to go out with a bang, and he did. As a senior, Pointer averaged 13.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. He received the Haggerty Award, an award given to the men’s college basketball player of the year in the New York Metropolitan region, and was named to the All-Big East Second Team. After years of coming up short of the NCAA Tournament, Pointer and his teammates finally made it. Pointer was a crucial part of St. John’s run to the NCAAs.
“Our senior year, we took off. We found it. There was no way we weren’t going to make the NCAA Tournament. It was something you can tell your kids. You made the NCAA Tournament, played in it, and had a good chance to win it, but it didn’t happen.”
His time at St. John’s was a memorable one, with his favorite game coming on his senior night. Pointer had a career-high 24 points in a win to close out his last home game at St. John’s versus rival Georgetown. Madison Square Garden was packed, and Pointer got to share a moment with his family, who mean everything to him and keep him grounded.
The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Pointer with the 53rd overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. With no idea who would draft him or if he was going to get drafted, Pointer found out while he was bowling. “It was a great feeling. No one can ever take that away,” Pointer claimed.
He played his first professional season with the Canton Charge, the G League affiliate of the Cavaliers. After one season in Canton, Pointer headed overseas in 2016. He played in Isreal, Lebanon, and Hungary.
Overseas basketball made Pointer a more formidable player. Thousands of miles away from home, homesickness set in, but it was an enjoyable experience for the 6-foot-6 forward. Trying new foods and visiting new cities were some of the things Pointer did while off the court. Playing overseas is what you make it.
He returned for a second stint with the Canton Charge in 2018 and has been with the organization since. Pointer matured and polished his offensive game and is one of the best all-around players in the G League. He was named to the NBA G League All-Defensive Team in 2020.
Pointer averaged 11.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.9 steals, and 2.0 blocks last season and earned himself a 10-day contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Pointer spoke about that call-up and said, “I found out after a game, and I celebrated with my teammates. You pack your bags and head to wherever the team is. I didn’t play, but it was exciting that I had a chance to get in (a game).”
This season he is back with the Charge in a condensed 15 game G League season. Through 12 games, he’s averaged 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.8 steals, and 2.0 blocks per game.
Pointer has no plans after the G League’s season is over but remains focused on getting better and getting called up. His unique skill-set is something special, and he’s done more than enough to prove he can help an NBA team out.